Breads, soups, starters & salads

Spinach soup: Karen Austin of Lettercollum

500g spinach

2tbs white flour

50g butter

1 onion

400ml milk

600ml vegetable or chicken stock

a few grates of nutmeg

cream to serve (optional)

Peel and chop the onion. Melt the butter in a saucepan and gently sauté the onions until they soften. Add the flour to the onions and stir for a couple of minutes then whisk in the stock and milk. Keep stirring until the soup comes to the boil. Wash and shred the spinach and when the soup is boiling stir in. Add a couple of grates of nutmeg and season with salt and black pepper. As soon as the spinach wilts and the soup returns to the boil take off the heat and liquidise.

Check the seasoning and serve with a swirl of cream.


Curried Parsnip Soup: Alison Wickham

2 cloves garlic

1/2-1 t curry powder

75 g butter

500g parsnip

1 c water

2 t vegetable stock powder

3 cups milk

Melt butter in large pot and add curry powder and garlic. Peel parsnips and slice into pieces 1 cm thick. Cook in butter 1-2 minutes but do not brown. Add the water and stock flavouring, cover and cook for ten minutes until tender. Puree and thin with milk until it is the desired consistency. Reheat but do not boil. Garnish to taste and serve.


French Bean and Tomato Salad: Karen Austin

450g French beans

2-3 beef tomatoes or 4-5 regular

1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic

75ml olive oil

25ml sunflower oil

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

a large handful basil

50g fresh Parmesan cheese

Put a large pot of salted water to boil. Top and tail the beans and when the water is boiling add the beans and cook for about 3 minutes. Test a bean. The beans should squeak when you bite one, barely tender. If they are ready, strain and plunge into cold water.

Chop the garlic finely and mix together with the Dijon mustard and vinegar. Using a fork, whisk in the oils. Taste, and season.

Chop the tomatoes into large dice and mix together with the French beans and red onion. Season with salt and pepper.

Add a large handful of basil and toss with the vinaigrette, tomatoes and beans.

Grate the Parmesan over the salad and toss, gently, once again.


Wild Garlic Pesto: Allison Roberts

An easy recipe that makes a great local alternative to basil & pine nut pesto – I would say even better!

Wild garlic can be found all around the Clonakilty area, it’s easily identified by it’s lovely little white bell shaped flowers and grows like a weed so you’ll see it in huge patches.  If in doubt have a good smell, and a taste!

What you’ll need:

An extra big bunch of wild garlic leaves, choose the ones without flowers, rinsed & dried (you can eat the bulbs too but not in the recipe).

Approx. 30 grams of cashews (or any nut you have in the house, walnut, pine nut etc.)

A bug glug of extra virgin olive oil

Up to 35 grams of parmesan (optional)

A bit of sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and sugar to taste

Bash up the nuts using a mortar & pestle or hand grinder, or for a finer pesto, a food processor.

Finely chop the wild garlic or add to processor.  Glug in a good bit of oil, to your liking.  Add grated cheese, season & mix well!

Wild garlic pesto is delicious on fresh bread, in sandwiches or as a pasta dressing.  For salads, add more olive oil or use to garnish soup!


Roasted Beetroot, Caramelized Goats Cheese, Pumpkin Seed Salad: Karen Austin

Selection of salad leaves, rocket etc.

150g goats cheese

2tbs honey

500g smaller beetroots

a bunch of chives – chopped

25g pumpkin seeds

1tbs sherry vinegar

6-7 tbs olive oil

1tsp Dijon mustard

soya sauce

Wash the beetroots under running water. Snap off the stems and put into a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size. Smaller beets are sweeter than large ones. Test with a knife and if they are tender drain and run under a cold tap. When the beets are cool, peel and chop into small chunks

Toast the pumpkin seeds gently in a dry pan and toss together with a little soya sauce.

Put the Dijon mustard into a small bowl and whisk in the vinegar and olive oil. Season, and toss together with the beetroots and chopped chives.

Slice the goats cheese and put on a baking tray with a tsp of honey on top of each piece. Put into the hot oven and bake for 3-4 mins, until the honey is bubbling on top.

Put a handful of salad leaves on each plate with a mound of beetroots on top and gently slide a piece of roasted goats cheese on top. Scatter with a few pumpkin seeds and serve


Cheddar & Stout Bread: Avril Allshire


9 fl oz /250 ml Beamish Stout

350g /12oz self raising flour, sifted

60g / 2¼ oz organic raw cane sugar

100g / 3½ oz Carbery Special Reserve Cheddar or Dubliner, grated

2 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (optional),



Preheat the oven to 50° C or as low as possible. Line a 20.5cm / 8in cake tin with removable base with greaseproof paper.

Mix the cheese, flour sugar, stout and seeds (if using) in a bowl and either mix well with a wooden spoon or on a very low speed with the food mixer until all the flour is combined. The dough will not look like a normal bread dough that would be kneaded, but quite sticky.

Put the dough into a tin and level. Leave in the oven for 30 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 5. (There is no need to remove the tin from the oven while the oven temperature is increasing).

Continue baking for 40 minutes then drizzle the melted butter over the top of the loaf and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.

Serve warm or cold.


Carrot Salad: Sara Kubiak

6 carrots (it depends how much you want to make), peeled and grated

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 apple, grated

1 handful raisins

balsamic vinegar

olive/rapeseed oil

sunflower seeds

Take a bowl or deep plate and grate carrots and apple into it. Add the raisins and garlic and pour some oil and vinegar over the ingredients, however much you fancy. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for an hour to chill.

Turn on the cooker and put a frying pan onto a hob. Put in the sunflower seeds, again as many as you want, but if you need a guideline, a handful will do. Toast the seeds, but don’t let them burn, they go brown within a minute or two, so don’t take your eyes of them. Pour onto the chilled salad. Eat and enjoy on its own, as a starter or with a meal.


Spicy Chicken Salad: Sara Kubiak

This is so quick and easy to make, a lot of chopping, but the more you do it the faster you get! We have been trying to have this everyday or every second day to try and eat more raw veg. You don’t have to have chicken either all the time, I just do it every so often for a change and because it’s yummy!


1/2 cucumber, sliced or diced

1 head of lettuce, sliced, or tear it a bit

1 apple, cut into pieces

1 pepper, red or yellow cut into strip

2 carrots, sliced or diced (I sometimes grate them when I have more time)

2 celery sticks, sliced

Put all ingredients into a bowl and toss. To make the salad dressing you will need:

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp honey

a squeeze of lemon juice

oil, pour in as much as you think you might need.

Shake all ingredients together in a small jar with lid. While you prepare the chicken, the dressing mixture will separate out, so you will need to shake it up again just before you pour it onto the salad.

To make the chicken, you will need:

1 chicken fillet per person, sliced into even thin pieces

squeeze of lemon juice

oil, olive/rapeseed

Depending on how spicy you like your food, you can cut a chili into the chicken, or if you are like us and like the burning sensation of spicy food, go to your local shop and get a bottle of Nando’s EXTRA HOT Chili Sauce. Or Tabasco is good too.

Put the heat on full and put some oil into the pan (a high rimmed pot/pan is better so you wont get splashed in oil). Let it heat up for a minute, put in the chicken pieces and pour the Nando’s over it, spread out the pieces and leave for a few minutes. Stir to stop from burning, don’t cook for too long as the meat will go dry. You can put in the lemon when you want to, or leave it out if you don’t like it.

Pour the salad sauce onto the salad and then the chicken over the rest. We like to just eat it out of the bowl, I would recommend you only do this on your own or with someone you’re close to. It gets messy, and that’s only the arguments over the chicken and cucumber!!!


Turkey Waldorf Salad: Alison Wickham

Per person:

100 gms of cold cooked turkey (or ham or chicken or both)

1 stick celery

1 small red skinned apple

1 teaspoon low fat mayonnaise

2 large walnut halves

handful salad greens


Place a handful of salad greens on a medium sized plate.  Dice all remaining ingredients, except nuts, into a bowl and stir mayonnaise through to coat lightly.  Season to taste. Divide evenly and place in mounds on lettuce.  Garnish with tomato if desired.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts and enjoy. Best prepared immediately before eating.